It’s okay not to be okay sometimes, and it’s okay to need a little help to feel better again.
We’ve gathered some simple ideas that you can easily do today or within this week to cheer yourself up a bit.
Speaker | Author | Certified Laughter Leader Expert, Try Laughter! Inc.
Watch good TV shows
What are the go-to shows that make you laugh? No News, for starters. Absolutely not! For me, those shows would be Grace and Frankie (Netflix), Friends, Seinfeld, Big Bang Theory, Fehrety, Jimmy Fallon reruns.
Go-to movies can work too. mine are Love Actually, The Holiday, Mamma Mia, The Hangover.
I make wine-cork lined serving trays. Don’t ask me why or how it started, but I get swallowed up in this, indoors or outdoors. I’ve even carted the supplies to an outdoor place. It’s a big puzzle. And a conversation starter, which is kind of fun for the demeanor. Each cork must fit. No cutting.
It’s oddly satisfying and makes me happy, even to do it for a short time. People will always stop and comment and by watching they become engaged. I also have a loom on which I make infinity scarves out of yarn. Again, you just get lost in it and it is a happy lost.
Puppies and babies
Nothing cheers up our staff at work than when either of these living things enters our lobby. They are like magnets of joy! Toddlers work too. We have a coloring table and a coloring cardboard house.
There have been a few times when a child has asked another employee or me to sit down and color with them. It is absolutely the best to do coloring again! Not to mention, getting paid to do it!?
Puppies can also be grown dogs, in my opinion. I love communities where dogs are hanging out with their humans at outdoor cafes. It’s a must to go over and ask if they can be petted. There’s no drug like a natural endorphin to bring cheer to us – almost instantaneously.
Same with Babies. I don’t care if I get to hold them or not, but just let me touch a baby toe or that soft place under their chin, or a cheek and here come the endorphins!
If you have a pup to walk, you will have other people acknowledge you, especially if your dog is good looking or funny looking. When I walk my Lab or my grand-dogs, both beautiful, black Labs, people admire them. Most children ask to pet my dog. If that doesn’t add cheer to your day, I don’t know what will!
Also, when you walk try to imagine the pure, simple joy a pet or child has to be walked or strolled outside. So much to take in, sniff, or touch.
Perhaps you’re a cat person. I don’t know too much about that genre, but I suppose it has many of the same properties, although it would be great if more people would leash their cats like we do our dogs!
For a really feel-good pet event, there is the Mutt Strut fundraiser this weekend for the Humane Society. It’s like stepping into Dr. Seuss’ book, “Go Dogs, Go!” It’s a dog fest.
Walk outside by yourself
There’s nothing better than the great outdoors even in off-weather. Check out that sky, whether it’s clear or clouded! They don’t call it, “The Great Outdoors” for nothing. Do you ever hear it referred to as, “The Mediocre Outdoors?” Nope.
Sometimes getting out of the house is equivalent to getting out of your head. If I can coordinate a walk with a friend who is fun or funny, that’s a win-win.
Go to the gym
If there are noise and people, the activity makes me feel good. I don’t even have to break a sweat! If it’s not a positively charged place, find a new gym.
Get to some water
Sitting by a pool, a pond, lake or ocean does something magical to me. The constant movement is happy laps of water I guess. I just love water. I even love the Gulf of Mexico when a storm is brewing out to sea! It’s the best! My dream someday is to live close enough to a body of water that I can drink my morning coffee on the porch or deck and look at the water.
Currently, we just have a plastic blue baby pool for our dog. She thinks it’s her water bowl. A baby pool is a start, but I want the real deal.
Classes in general
Art, clay, or physical exercise. My latest indulgence is the Pound-fit class. We use drumsticks, called “Ripsticks”, because apparently if we do this class long enough, we’re going to be ripped. But I doubt it. The instructor plays great music and we keep beat to it with cardio and strengthening moves. The best thing is the movements can be done from a standing position to a mat on the floor, to a chair. Any level can engage.
Last week, I tried a virtual class for the first time. I picked a barre class. A ballerina I am not, but it was actually fun and very difficult. Of course, looking at myself in the mirror in gym shorts and sneakers, hardly mimicked the beautiful svelte ballerina instructors on the screen. Big deal. There was music. There was movement. I left feeling happier.
Grabbing a great morning coffee
It can be out of our own kitchen or it can be a specialty coffee at a shop. The key is that I do not go every day. For one thing, that gets expensive. For another thing, any activity ceases to be special if done repeatedly.
Engage in a variety
One time, a friend and I attended a drum therapy session. I felt absolutely ridiculous, but there was something about the effort and the noise and picking a different instrument for each song.
Nobody judged and nobody laughed at me. Except me. Yes, it took guts to do something quite outrageous (for me), but that’s what a buddy’s for.
Haircuts, facials, manicures, and pedicures
I completely love my monthly haircut. Kris is always upbeat and we have some of the most interesting conversations. Same with Carol, when I get my brows done. When she finishes, she takes a final look and pronounces my eyebrows, “Absolutely perfect.” How can you leave not feeling better? Sometimes she puts makeup on my eyes or a new color of lipstick on me. Then I feel glamorous.
I remember when my mother was held hostage (not literally) by her hairstylist. She didn’t enjoy going every Friday, but she couldn’t quit her. It was like a bad date that you kept going out with. I would never settle and neither should you.
Visit your family or relatives
Nursing homes are another place that can make you feel better. When I go to visit my mother there is always that tug on my gut before I get inside the home.
Let’s face it, nobody wants to live in one and/or visit one, but we must, so we do. I make a point to say, “Hello,” to every resident and staff I encounter. Because most residents are in wheelchairs, where Mom lives, a lot of people look right over them. They will greet you back (if they can). I don’t care if they’re comatose, I’ll say, “Hello.”
It cheers me up to think I may have added a teaspoon of cheer to their day, just by acknowledging them.
It’s the little things that can be the big things and that’s the main thing!
Author | Comedian | Life Coach, The Queen of Damn Near Everything
Self-care is the most important step in creating and keeping a happy life
If you are familiar with the saying, “Those pumps aren’t going to pay for themselves,” along the same lines, “Your happiness in life isn’t just going to happen.” You have to take life by the reins and create your best life.
Your best life won’t be my best life or your neighbor’s best life, but once you figure out what would make your life the best possible—for you then you are on the track to achieving it.
What happens with many people, women more so than men, is that they put everyone and everything in front of their own needs. Their careers, their children, their partner, the house, parents, volunteer activities. The things that make them happy, that help them feel joy, are put on the back burner and left for last. Or worse yet, left for never!
To achieve happiness, you must put your needs at the front of the line
You must schedule a time for the things that make you happy. Schedule time for things that keep you fit. Schedule time for FUN! There have been many articles lately on how much healthier women are when they spend time with their friends on a regular basis.
You’ve certainly heard the old adage, “If momma ain’t happy, ain’t nobody happy!” There is more truth to this statement than you might imagine! When you take time to make yourself a priority, everything else falls into order much easier. Your career, your children, your partner, your house, etc.
If you haven’t yet done so, sit down for a bit and think of the things you’d love to do for the first time. Think about the things you’d like to get back to, that used to put joy in your life, the people you’d like to spend time with, and put a few of these things on your calendar for the next few weeks. You will find that you will feel so much better about your life before you know it!
Related: How to Make Yourself Happy
Neuroscientist | Psychologist | Author, 100 Days to a Younger Brain
It’s free. The simple act of smiling sends messages to your brain that can make you happy even if you are not. So smile even, or especially, if you don’t feel like it.
Smiling is brilliant for brain health.
It gives birth to new brain cells and encourages positive changes in areas of the brain associated with learning and memory. Smiling makes your brain more flexible, more resilient and better able to cope when challenged by injury or neurodegenerative diseases.
Smiling is also good for your mental health because it protects against stress, depression, and anxiety.
Smiling can lead to laughter which is nature’s best stress-buster. A real all-rounder smiling not only releases hormones that make you feel good, but it also benefits your physical health by it lowering blood pressure and boosting immune function.
To cheer yourself up I prescribe smiling at least five times a day.
Once first thing in the morning – it’s a great way to start the day. One at night to end the day on a positive note. Share at least one smile with someone else – smiling is contagious so it’s a great way to spread the happiness and the health benefits. And you can do whatever you wish with the other two smiles…
Clinical Psychologist | Inspirational Speaker | Author, “But It’s Your Family: Cutting Ties with Toxic Family Members and Loving Yourself in the Aftermath“
The best way to cheer yourself up is to do things that make you happy and to do things that make you feel good
These can be activities such as exercise, going out with friends, going shopping, being on social media possibly, reading, seeing a movie, and/or being around your pets and family. Really at the end of the day, the conversation you have with yourself is the most important conversation.
If you find that you are talking very negative self-talk to yourself the first place you want to start is talking more positively to yourself and making sure that you have goals that are attainable for you to achieve.
Happiness is definitely a byproduct of achieving and so cheering ourselves up can definitely be attained by going after something you desire, and positive self-talk as a helpful way to get you there.
Helen Godfrey, MA, NCC, BCC, LPC
Licensed Professional Counselor | Owner, The Authentic Path
Take a nap
Most people are overworked between commuting, working, and trying to balance their everyday tasks such as cooking, cleaning and running errands. Check-in with yourself to see if you are simply tired. Closing your eyes for even 5-10 minutes can be re-energizing.
Something that can be helpful is to focus on the present moment. A good way of doing this is to first, focus on one sound, add another sound and finally, add a third sound to focus upon.
It is amazing how many sounds we don’t notice because we are too busy. Focus on each sound individually and on your breathing.
Get some exercise
Getting in the habit of exercising regularly can help reduce stress and anxiety. A short walk during lunch can give you that extra boost to keep going through the day feeling happier. Use an exercise tracker and note your daily, weekly, monthly and yearly accomplishments.
Sometimes we don’t feel happy because we don’t give ourselves enough credit throughout the day. Exercising offers tangible results and solid data which many people find validating and encouraging.
Have something to look forward to each day
Plan something, however small, to look forward to each day and yes, it can be your lunch. Sometimes the reason people feel less than chipper is a result of not taking care of themselves. How do you take care of yourself? What energizes you? How do you recharge?
Listen to uplifting music
Create a playlist and give it a title that you think is funny such as the “Snap out of it, grouchy” playlist with your favorite songs. Put all the songs that you find uplifting on the list and take a walk while you listen.
The combination of exercise and good music is almost sure to get you back on track and cure your blues.
Read through your gratitude journal
If you don’t have a gratitude journal, you may want to start one now. Write down who and what you are grateful for and why. This can help you gain perspective and help you re-frame your mood.
Be ok with being cranky
So not permanently cranky but sometimes we aren’t happy and that’s ok. What is the underlying cause? Did you get enough sleep? Are you hungry, tired, angry, or lonely? What is one thing you can do today to resolve this problem? Have you gone through a big change in your life?
Even happy changes can cause stress. If you are finding yourself unhappy most of the time, seek professional help.
Life Coach | Author, The Cure for Happiness: Timeless Secrets to a Stress-Free Life
What many personal development gurus might not tell you is that there are no such things as negative emotions.
Take anxiety for example, when I was hiking deep in the wilderness of the Colorado Rocky Mountains, I found myself face-to-face with a mother moose who was stomping her feet and looking like she was about to attack. At that moment, my body was flooded with an overwhelming amount of stress and anxiety.
Can you see how these emotions are what caused the fight-or-flight response as a mechanism to keep us alive? In this instance, these emotions were not ‘negative’. They were positive signals from my unconscious that were pointing me to do something.
The same thing holds true in our everyday lives, although those emotions are subtler. So how do you use this understanding to cheer yourself up when you’re feeling down?
Identify what’s causing your worries
If you’re looking for a permanent solution, take some time to really sit down and narrow down your focus on what is causing your worries. The emotions are a result of something.
- Are you unhappy in your career?
- Stuck in a toxic relationship?
- Do you need a change of scenery?
- Caught in the everyday routine?
The emotions are a result of something else. When you find out what that something else is, it’ll provide you some insights into how you can change this.
Many times in my life, I simply needed a change of scenery so I planned a week-long vacation that stripped away all the deadlines and timetables of the real world.
In 2015, I took a road trip with a friend across the Southwestern United States and it really provided me the happiness I needed.
What kind of change of scenery can do it for you?
James Killian, LPC
Licensed Professional Counselor | Principal Therapist | Owner, Arcadian Counseling
One of the most effective and quickest ways to cheer yourself up is to focus on what you have to be grateful for in life
I encourage clients to keep a daily gratitude journal which consists of simply writing down 3 things in the morning for which they are grateful. This simple exercise (which takes no more than a couple minutes) can shift your thinking in the right direction for the day, and over time, improve your mindset and mood!
Meredith Prescott, LCSW
Psychotherapist, Alyson Cohen Therapy
Practicing self-care is one of the best things you can do to cheer yourself up
Self-care can be as simple as going to a workout class with a friend, treating yourself to a facial, or going for a long walk outside with your dog. Self-care is about making yourself a priority and allowing your mind to relax and reset itself in our often busy and chaotic lives.
Simply laughing and smiling release endorphins, which make us feel happier and less stressed. Maybe it’s time to see a show at a comedy club! Sometimes the little things in life can go a long way towards improving the quality of our lives.
Engage in therapy
For those who feel like they have tried to cheer themselves up but can’t, a psychotherapist can work with you to address why you are feeling this way. In my practice, at Alyson Cohen Therapy, I help clients address dysfunctional patterns that are getting in the way of their happiness. We work together to help clients build their best lives.
Practice mindfulness and gratitude daily
Meditation can allow you to pay better attention to your emotions and enhance your self-awareness. Gratitude can also be a very powerful tool to improve your mood and overall psychological health.
One way to do this is to keep a journal and write a list of 5things you’re thankful for every day. It can make all the difference!
Related: Mindfulness: Will It Make Me Happy?
Clay Drinko, Ph.D.
Educator | Author, Play your Way Sane
Humans have two things going for them when it comes to cheering ourselves up. First, we can only hold a limited amount of information in our conscious thoughts. That’s good news because if there are negative thoughts swirling around in there, we truly can replace them with more positive ones.
The second bit of good news is that the brain never stops changing. That means it’s never too late to start creating new habits, which are new neural pathways in the brain.
Focus outside yourself
My approach to cheering yourself up comes from my research on improv and cognitive science. Improv offers an approach to change your focus, which can change your mood.
Instead of obsessing or stewing in persistent negative thoughts, get reacquainted with your childlike sense of wonder.
Since the brain can only think about a set amount at one time, think about the world around you or your colleague or friend instead of whatever is getting you down. Take a walk through nature and really pay attention to its beauty. Or give a compliment or do a favor for someone else.
Gamify your life
Get silly and turn everyday tasks into games. Use your imagination. Think back to when you played the Lava Game. You know, when you had to stand on furniture in order to not be consumed by boiling imaginary lava.
Some of my silly games are trying to only use my windshield wipers three times per minute or taking bets on when the buzzard will land in the backyard.
Make your daily life a game to start cheering yourself up.
It’s easier for children to use a sense of play and wonder to cheer themselves up, so learn from them. We only have one world and one life in that world, so take it all in and start playing today in order to start cheering yourself up.
Life and Weight Coach | Anxiety Coach | Podcast Host, F*CK Anxiety & Get Sh*t Done
We live in a culture where we are taught to buy things, book vacations and drink alcohol to feel better. These are all temporary fixes that do not allow us to feel better long term.
In order to feel better long term, we have to first understand why we are feeling negative at that moment
As a coach, this is what I teach clients to do. To connect with their subconscious thoughts. If you are feeling negative emotions, it is because you are thinking negative thoughts. It can be as simple as, “this is hard”, or “my boss is a d*ck”.
Negative thoughts create negative emotions. Once we uncover our negative thoughts (I recommend writing them down), then we can see the connection to our emotions and from there we can change our thoughts.
Getting rid of negative thoughts sounds simple, and that is because it is. However, it is a matter of reprogramming your thoughts to think on purpose.
An unmanaged mind is like a toddler, running around causing havoc. To feel better, we have to focus our mind on purpose on thoughts that feel better. This is not to say start yelling positive affirmations that you do no believe, but instead, to focus on thoughts you already believe.
Asking a simple question, like “What do I love about my life?”, puts your brain to work thinking thoughts on purpose about what already causes you cheer in your life.
Ask the right questions, change your thoughts, feel better. That is how it works!
Author | Journalist | Life Coach | Editor, E-Counseling
One project for when you need to cheer yourself up is to think of how to become the person whom you want to meet
Imagine how you’d need to behave, dress, move, speak, and think to achieve that goal. Have fun play-acting. Imagine becoming a cheerful person, someone who can cope with disappointment and sadness in admirable ways.
If that doesn’t work for you, look at things that you like. Go to a museum, an outdoor area, a movie, whatever works to leave you feeling energized and cheerful again.
Another way to cheer yourself up is to do things that leave you laughing
Play with friendly animals, children who’d enjoy the time with you, and the special adult in your life. Listen to comedy recordings or live presentations by Michael McIntyre, Jeanne Robertson, John Cleese, whoever gets you grinning again.
Classic comedians such as Carl Reiner, Mel Brooks, Steve Allen, George Burns appear online. All of them know how to make a person feel cheerful again.
Spend time with people and nature
Ditch the digital media and go for face time with reality. Enjoy genuine social interactions, and feeling cheerful for doing so. People can be charming and cheering.
Nature lets us calm down and appreciate the simple things in life. When you need to cheer yourself up, those options can do a lot for you.
Founder, BU Coaching
Know your cup fillers
When I refer to knowing your ‘cup fillers,’ I mean having a list of things that you know re-energize you and make you happy. They can be something as simple as listening to your favorite song or having a cup of tea, or they may be bigger like going away camping for a weekend.
The important thing is to have an easily accessible list of activities that you know energize you and fill your cup back up.
Smile… even if it’s forced
This might sound ridiculous but many studies have shown that the simple act of smiling can stimulate the release of feel-good hormones from our minds. Some of these studies even suggested that forcing a smile for long enough can have a similar effect on your mood!
If all else fails, hold a pencil between your back teeth, this act will stimulate the same facial muscles required for smiling and can trick your brain into feeling a bit better.
Move your body to free your mind
It’s not anything new to say that exercise is a great way to cheer yourself up but when you’re feeling a bit flat exercise can be the last thing you want to do. Instead of doing a big sweaty workout just start by shaking up your posture.
Move around, stretch, shake your body out. Simply moving your body and getting some blood flow going on can make a huge difference.
Director of Training, Combined Insurance
Count your blessings
Every morning, before you start your busy day, write down or think about five or more things and/or people that you are thankful for. You will realize you probably have so many more that five and your mind will shift from your challenges to all the good in your life.
Be a good finder
Luke Bryan, a country singer, and songwriter was right when he sang, “Most people are good!”
The next time you meet someone, instead of looking for flaws and short-comings, identify something good about that person. You will be surprised at how easy it is and this small, simple act will have a positive impact on your relationship.
The truth is, you will find whatever you look for, so why not look for the good?
Find a seed of equal or greater benefit in every adversity
Winston Churchill said, “Success is the ability to go from failure to failure without losing your enthusiasm.”
Adversity is required to truly grow and improve. The most successful people in any endeavor constantly challenge themselves to improve and become comfortable with being uncomfortable.
Engage in study, thinking and planning time
W. Clement Stone dedicated 45 minutes each day to study, thinking and planning time. In this fast-paced world we live in, the only way to stay current and relevant is to be a life-long learner.
Try something you have never tried before. Learn to sail, run a 5K, a new language, or even a new recipe!
Share a part of you – a part that is good, with others
Research shows that giving makes us happier than receiving. In fact, there is a phenomenon called “Helpers High.” Helping others releases endorphins which in turn, improve your mood and boost self-esteem.
Michael Steger, a psychologist at the University of Kentucky, conducted a study on behaviors that make people happy and discovered that the more people participated in meaningful activities, the happier they were and more purposeful their lives felt.
There are many positive experiences in our lives and they are not all complicated. In short, some emotions you can easily create yourself. They improve you by teaching you how to live a beautiful life.
We must all take responsibility for ourselves in order to develop into something “better”. Therefore, it is important to remember the importance of one’s personal needs. If you do not value, care for and support yourself, you do not respect yourself. In this way, one sabotages oneself and one’s life.
We can take care of our own needs. But at the same time, we can also take care of the needs of those around us. This will encourage you and those who love you. It gives you free hands to enjoy the following four experiences that we all deserve to have.
Live in the present and spend time with the right people
It is the magic of the day that makes us feel alive. This means that one must sense with the heart and focus on what is here and now. Don’t constantly plan for the future, so you’ll sit there waiting for it.
The moment is the only guaranteed moment. But we are constantly letting it slip away. We are not even fully aware of it. To feel more in the present, spend time with people and do activities. The ones that make you feel alive and authentic.
Appreciate the positive lessons from your mistakes
You are the master of your own life. Nowadays, emotional disorders such as anxiety and stress have become increasingly common. They occur when we do not look after ourselves.
To overcome them successfully, we need the basic tools to understand ourselves. Trying to be perfect and avoiding mistakes also causes anxiety. It only prevents us from being ourselves.
Mistakes are a gift as they are the springboard for progress. Making mistakes indicates that we are on the right track. We strive for something and try without giving up. Aim to run the risks and dare to step out of your comfort zone. And if you fall, get up. Perhaps one of those mistakes is the way to achieve something great in life.
Be honest with yourself by facing your challenges with humility
When talking about honesty, we refer to the capacity that lets us realize what is right. It tells us about right and wrong, and about what we want or need to change. Be honest, about what you want and who you once were. Learn something from it. This helps you develop in a positive direction.
Lying to yourself only leads to a lack of respect and consistency. The person who will always be with you is you. You have to accept that. And if you are consistent around yourself, you will be able to get to know yourself better. Then you prevent your problems from defining you.
We often complain that things are not going as well as we would like. We overlook the important fact that if we do nothing, our problems will not go away. “Do what you can when you can and acknowledge what you have done.” Take small steps in the direction you think is right. Even if it means a step back to regain balance.
Start being more nice to yourself
The way you treat and love yourself sets the standard for those around you. The love you have for the world must come from within yourself. Don’t expect others to create it.
Do you pretend that you are what others want you to be? Trying to satisfy all their needs will only make you lose the person you are. Don’t leave yourself alone. Embrace yourself. Be honest with yourself and always put your heart into everything you do.
Registered Dietitian, Frugal Minimalist Kitchen
Eating your favorite food is a great way to cheer yourself up if you’ve had a bad day
Emotional eating gets a bad reputation but it’s actually perfectly natural and ok to do sometimes! The only issue is if emotional eating is one of the only things you do to cheer yourself up, then you may experience unintended side effects.
The best thing to do is to have a variety of things that cheer you up so you have many options and don’t rely on just one.
Career Development Manager, MintResume
Take a break and watch funny videos
To cheer myself up, I often take a quick break from work and watch something online that makes me smile. I usually watch crazy cat videos, cute baby videos, online pranks, hilarious gifs or funny memes.
I believe it’s an instant mood lifter. And, sharing them on your Facebook wall can definitely help you connect with many new friends.